A soft whimper might be due to a wet diaper or is it because your baby is hungry? A loud cry or how about rubbing the ears mean? Not all baby cues are easy to understand, sometimes it might be frustrating to feel clueless about what they want. These baby cues are the ways your baby is trying to tell you their needs and wants.
A little bit of patience and some baby-watching would make you an expert in understanding their cues. You will be amazed at their clarity in giving cues when they are tired or hungry.
Babies communicate long before they start speaking or say their first words. Babies are born with the ability to express emotions – contentment or distress. They feel secure when their cues are read and understood quickly. The parent-baby bond gets strengthened, but remember, not all babies give the exact same cues, it might take months to get in tune with your baby. The ability to understand the control over the emotions is very important. When you respond to your baby’s cues, your baby learns the emotional regulation.
4 Important Baby Cues
1. ‘Rooting’ Cues
All newborns have the natural reflex to root, especially when you watch for the cue in your little one, you will catch the cue right and know it’s time to feed. The rooting cue is when your baby turns toward your breast and try to get it. If they are very hungry, they might have this rooting reflex not only to their moms but e.ven to a male one.
As a mom, you know your baby’s schedule and the time to feed. But sometimes, if your baby is extremely hungry or wants to feed sooner than expected they show these rooting cues. It is the natural reflex when they are hungry. They also make sucking noises or suck their fists with little noises. If you ignore, they might start crying loud. Their cues may be subtle and if you ignore it might lead to unnecessary feeding problems. Make sure you feed enough and let your baby sleep longer before you start with the next feeding.
2. ‘Play With Me’ Cues
When your baby is tiny, they have very short periods of interaction and engagement. As they grow, the time taken to play will be longer. Their ‘play with me’ cues are very clear. Baby’s eyes will be wide and bright, their movements – arms and legs – will be faster, the voice will be loud and energetic, might grasp your finger to hold. Right when you respond, their enthusiasm will be more pronounced. A smile and an eye contact can get them going into babbling, talking, or cooing.
3. ‘I Want To Sleep’ Cues
If you are sleepy, you need to sleep – simple logic, right? Anyone who is kept awake while feeling tired or sleepy will get irritated, leave alone your baby. They give clear cues like being quiet, jerky movements, yawn, frown, or clenched fists when they feel sleepy. Rubbing eyes, crying, or fussing while grumpy is normal. Each baby has their own way of expressing things. When they feel increasingly drowsy they might lie still and watch their own fist. They are also very smart to express what exactly they want. Your baby might clearly show interest if she/he wants to play and feel overwhelmed when you play too much.
4. ‘Don’t Bother Me’ Cues
Your baby doesn’t need you all the time. Sometimes, they would also want to be left alone and just gaze into emptiness. This cue is very clear when they disengage themselves while you talk to them. Your baby might look away or turn the head away. Coughing, squirming, spitting, or arching back are some of the cues.
When they are very clearly bored, babies yawn, frown, or even hiccup. Understand the cues and stop playing with your baby. If you keep ignoring, they might get agitated and start fussing.
Every little baby is different and each has their unique cues, responding to those cues correctly would take some time, until then keep trying and happy parenting.